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Bill Longstaff: Is Harper Americanizing our Supreme Court?

When I first heard about Toronto lawyer Rocco Galati’s challenge of the federal government’s appointment of Justice Marc Nadon to the Supreme Court, I had little interest, thinking this was just some esoteric legal matter that had little meaning to us laymen. But the more it I learn about it, particularly listening to the views of various legal experts, the more I begin to think Galati hit on

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the tendency of both the Saskatchewan Party and the federal Cons to pretend a problem doesn’t exist for years on end, then suddenly proclaim there’s no time to do anything other than force through the most regressive “solution” possible.

In shorter terms, the Shock Doctrine has evolved into the Schmuck Doctrine. And we shouldn’t be accepting a government’s own incompetence as reason to accept its rushed decisions.

For further reading…- CBC reports on the Sask Party’s sudden hurry to lock the province into P3 school construction contracts. And the NDP caucus responds to the announcement.- (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Josh Eidelson and John Schmitt take a look at the guaranteed annual income which will be voted on in Switzerland – and the sole barrier to a similar discussion in the U.S. (and likely in Canada): What is a universal basic income, and why are we hearing more about it now?

The proposals that are floating around the world vary a lot. But the basic idea is, no matter what you do, if you’re a resident — or in some cases, a citizen — you get a certain amount of money each (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Indigenous rights: Alberta Métis to appeal to Supreme Court on harvesting rights case

by: Métis Nation of Alberta | Press Release:

EDMONTON, July 4, 2013 – Today, the Alberta Court of Appeal refused to overturn the conviction of Métis harvester Garry Hirsekorn for hunting in the Cypress Hills in 2007. The case―R. v. Hirsekorn―is a harvesting rights “test case” for Alberta Métis as a part of the Métis Nation of Alberta’s (“MNA”) ongoing “hunt for justice” in the courts. A copy of the decision is available at www.albertametis.com or www.albertacourts.ab.ca.

MNA President Audrey Poitras stated, “While we are disappointed with today’s decision, we are not deterred. Similar to the Manitoba Métis (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Robocalls: Federal Court finds fraud, Supreme Court appeal considered

By: Council of Canadians | Press Release: The Federal Court has released its decision in the robocalls case. The decision vindicates the applicants’ concerns, as the judge concludes that “fraud occurred in the 2011 Federal Election” though he did not annul the results. This finding about fraud being widespread raises the gravest concerns about the 2011 [...]

The post Robocalls: Federal Court finds fraud, Supreme Court appeal considered appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Canadian Progressive | News & Analysis: In Canada, a ‘Proud to Protect Refugees’ campaign is launched on Refugee Rights Day

By: Canadian Council for Refugees | Press Release: Today the Canadian Council for Refugees and other organizations announced the launch of a campaign designed to transform the conversation about refugees in Canada. Under the banner ‘Proud to Protect Refugees’, 4 April (Refugee Rights Day) will see the launch of new efforts to [...]

The post In Canada, a ‘Proud to Protect Refugees’ campaign is launched on Refugee Rights Day appeared first on The Canadian Progressive | News & Analysis.

The Canadian Progressive | News & Analysis: Conservative MP’s Bill C-461 threatens CBC journalistic integrity, protection of sources

By: Canadian Journalists for Free Expression | Press Release: TORONTO – One of Canada’s leading free speech groups is warning that a low-profile bill – coming up for second reading debate in the House of Commons today – could severely weaken the journalistic integrity of the CBC and cripple its ability to [...]

The post Conservative MP’s Bill C-461 threatens CBC journalistic integrity, protection of sources appeared first on The Canadian Progressive | News & Analysis.

BigCityLib Strikes Back: The Metis Win In Court–May Get Winnipeg!

APTN seems to be the only ones covering this SCC decision, though it sounds pretty significant.  At the very least the MMF (Manitoba Metis Federation) gets costs for 30 years of legal wrangling, and it will most likely trigger land claim negotiations.  There’s even an outside chance the MMF is awarded Winnipeg.  Be careful what you wish for, Metis!

BigCityLib Strikes Back: Whatcott At It Again

Despite a recent Supreme Court of Canada ruling against him, social conservative activist Bill Whatcott took his controversial anti-gay and anti-abortion stand on Wednesday to the University of Regina.

Bill will soon find out that defying the Supreme Court is a bit different from defying the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission.  He will find out as well, I think, that as his legal troubles increase they will trigger smaller and smaller amounts of media coverage.

(Although, that said, I’m not sure the SCC decision mentioned his anti-abortion pamphlets.  If he lays-off the gay bashing Bill may be OK.)

The Canadian Progressive: Aboriginal status ruling challenges policymakers

by John D. Whyte | The Leader Post, Jan 17 2013 Recent developments in relations with aboriginal peoples – the prime minister’s meeting with First Nations leaders, the protest by Chief Theresa Spence, who is on a liquid fast, and especially the Idle No more demonstrations – are likely to be significant. But equally important READ MORE

The Canadian Progressive: Indigenous and Human Rights Groups Issue Joint Statement Supporting Chief Spence and #IdleNoMore

Twenty-four indigenous and human rights groups have issued the following joint statement supporting the #IdleNoMore grassroots movement and Chief Theresa Spence, who is in the fourth week of her indefinite hunger strike on Ottawa’s Victoria Island, just across from the Canadian Parliament. Chief Spence, the leader of the northern Ontario Attawapiskat First Nation, is demanding a meeting involving READ MORE

Song of the Watermelon: Emerging Consensus on Gay Marriage

Assuming that the world survives this coming December 21, the United States Supreme Court is expected to rule on two cases in June which could result in the nation-wide legalization of gay marriage.

I cannot forecast with certainty how the court will decide, but supposing for a moment that it rules in favour of marriage equality, the short-term results are easy to predict: conservative commentators across the country will complain of judicial activism, despite having in many cases urged precisely such an overreach one short year before when Obamacare hung in the balance. Right on cue, public support for same-sex

. . . → Read More: Song of the Watermelon: Emerging Consensus on Gay Marriage

Song of the Watermelon: An Open Letter to Stephen Harper Regarding Senate Reform

Dear Prime Minister Stephen Harper:

I am writing today in response to reports that you will seek a Supreme Court reference on the constitutionality of your proposals for Senate reform. In a way, I can understand this. You would like clarity on a politically tricky issue, one that would otherwise almost inevitably face judicial challenge.

Personally, I do not believe the court will fully endorse all features of your plan, as the Constitution Act, 1982, is quite clear regarding the constitutional amendment requirements for such fundamental changes to the upper house. But either way, both you and I know

. . . → Read More: Song of the Watermelon: An Open Letter to Stephen Harper Regarding Senate Reform

Canadian Progressive: PETITION: Mayor of Kelowna Must Rescind Anti-abortion Proclamation

This petition is sponsored by the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada / Coalition pour le droit à l’avortement au Canada. It calls on Walter Gray, the Mayor of Kelowna, B.C., to rescind his recent proclamation of September 23-30, 2012, as the “Protect Human Life Week”. Dear Mayor Walter Gray, The signatories to this letter object to the proclamation you issued on July 3 declaring September 23-30, 2012 as “Protect Human Life Week.” This proclamation, issued at the request of the Kelowna Right to Life Society, is highly inappropriate and should be rescinded immediately. When the city states: “It is

. . . → Read More: Canadian Progressive: PETITION: Mayor of Kelowna Must Rescind Anti-abortion Proclamation

DeSmogBlog: Wisconsin v. Yoder Redux? MN Amish Citizens Revolt Against Frac Sand Mining

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"History," the old adage goes, "repeats itself." And this is precisely the reason why we learn it.

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False positive: private profit in Canada's health care: Happy Birthday Saskatchewan Medicare from the U.S. Supreme Court

Fifty years ago, on July 1, 1962, Saskatchewan introduced the first universal health insurance program in North America. The United States Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a fitting birthday present. Even though the Act was passed two years ago it now has legs.

Granted the American plan may be better for the insurance companies and private hospital chains than the population. Nonetheless, it establishes that the Untied States can make health care accessible to all. It is a step towards a more functional, equitable, democratic and sustainable system.

Congratulations to

. . . → Read More: False positive: private profit in Canada’s health care: Happy Birthday Saskatchewan Medicare from the U.S. Supreme Court

Song of the Watermelon: Assisted Suicide, Discrimination, and the Constitution

Suicide is a difficult case. I do not believe that people, under most circumstances, have a moral right to unilaterally kill themselves. An individual’s life is not the sole property of the individual; it belongs also to her or his loved ones, to all who are deeply affected by such an irreversible decision.

But does that mean that suicide ought to be illegal? The state, with one-size-fits-all statutes at its disposal, is not well-suited to govern over such a heavily context-dependent arena. To do so would set a disturbing precedent of public involvement in a profoundly personal matter. This debate

. . . → Read More: Song of the Watermelon: Assisted Suicide, Discrimination, and the Constitution

Song of the Watermelon: What Obama Should Say If His Health Bill Loses in Court

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature health care reform bill, had its three days in the Supreme Court last week, and by most accounts it did not go very well. Nothing is certain until the Court delivers its ruling in June. But if it does declare the bill unconstitutional, this is what — in my yes-we-canniest of dreams — I would like to hear the President say:

My fellow Americans,

The Supreme Court issued a decision today that I don’t think was right. It declared that Congress does not have the Constitutional authority to

. . . → Read More: Song of the Watermelon: What Obama Should Say If His Health Bill Loses in Court

DeSmogBlog: Here We Go Again – Republican Attacks On EPA Kick Off 2012 Agenda

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With the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set to finally enact stricter air pollution standards in accordance with the Clean Air Act and two subsequent U.S. Supreme Court decisions requiring them to do so, powerful Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are working to make sure that the new standards never see the light of day. The specific measures being targeted are the EPA’s new standards for carbon emissions from power plant smoke stacks.

Fred Upton (R-MI), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, along with Republicans Joe

. . . → Read More: DeSmogBlog: Here We Go Again – Republican Attacks On EPA Kick Off 2012 Agenda

Pample the Moose: Official Bilingualism, Officers of Parliament and Supreme Court Justices

Much ink has been spilled of late about the decision of Stephen Harper to appoint a unilingual Supreme Court Justice (Michael Moldaver) and a unilingual Auditor-General (Michael Ferguson) in recent weeks. We’ve seen the usual range of commentary, whic… . . . → Read More: Pample the Moose: Official Bilingualism, Officers of Parliament and Supreme Court Justices

Bill Longstaff: Welcome to the new Supremes

Finally, the Prime Minister has filled the gaps in the Supreme Court and seemingly with good choices: Justice Andromache Karakatsanis and Justice Michael Moldaver, both from the Ontario Court of Appeal. Politically, the two justices are considered smal… . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: Welcome to the new Supremes

Law is Cool: Safe injection facilities and arbitrary government decisions

I often talk to friends or strangers about law. I remember a debate I had with someone once about the government. Can it make arbitrary decisions? I said yes, and he said, rather indignantly, no. His logic was that arbitrary means capricious with a tinge of tyranny. Doesn’t our democratic government respect the rule of [...] . . . → Read More: Law is Cool: Safe injection facilities and arbitrary government decisions

They Call Me "Mr. Sinister": Well, What Do You Know

The Supreme Court has actually told the Conservatives to take a hike. They have saved Insite and as a result, the lives of countless drug addicts. Hooray for the triumph of reason over ideology. It is unfortunate that it is such a rare occurrence. I e… . . . → Read More: They Call Me “Mr. Sinister”: Well, What Do You Know

DeSmogBlog - Clearing the PR Pollution that Clouds Climate Science: Heritage Foundation Wastes No Time Spinning Court Ruling On Greenhouse Gas Emissions

lawsuit-500.jpg The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against plaintiffs yesterday in a lawsuit (American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut) brought by six states against several utility companies and the… . . . → Read More: DeSmogBlog – Clearing the PR Pollution that Clouds Climate Science: Heritage Foundation Wastes No Time Spinning Court Ruling On Greenhouse Gas Emissions

DeSmogBlog - Clearing the PR Pollution that Clouds Climate Science: Media Matters Report Shows Network TV Preference For Anti-Environment Guests

media-matters.jpg Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that the Environmental Protection Agency had the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) under the Clean Air Act, R… . . . → Read More: DeSmogBlog – Clearing the PR Pollution that Clouds Climate Science: Media Matters Report Shows Network TV Preference For Anti-Environment Guests